Our History


Mr. Bruce Hartwig was a talented flying instructor with a gift for explaining the complexities of flying to his students in a style that was easy to understand. Bruce opened his own school in the regional South Australian town of Waikerie in the 1960s, attracting students from all over Australia.

In 1980 Bruce was offered the position of Chief Flying Instructor at the Royal Aero Club of South Australia, moving his school to Parafield. Mr. Greg Norris undertook some advanced training with Bruce and went on to model his own teaching style on Bruce’s easy down to earth example. Greg and Bruce continued to work together after Greg began operation of the school in his own right in 1991. For many years the School was active at a national level, contributing to the national training industry and became the first aviation school in Australia to attain an ISO 9001 international quality assurance rating, the first to win Skills for All subsidies and one of the first to be granted VET-FEE HELP approval. Mr. David Blake and David Johnston purchased the School in its entirety in April 2014.

From its small beginnings 50 years years ago, The Bruce Hartwig Flying School has gone on to become one of Australia’s premier specialist aviation schools with highly qualified flight instructors. Our instructors are rigorously trained in up-to-date teaching techniques but still retain Bruce’s practical teaching style.

Why our school is different

The Bruce Hartwig Flying School was established in 1969, and has an unblemished safety record spanning 50 years of operation. Over the last 20 years alone, we have seen no less than 17 flying schools open at Parafield Airport, and subsequently close their doors. We attribute the longevity and growth of our School to the continual focus on quality – which translates directly to safety for our aviation students.

The School holds all relevant certifications for training international students, including Air Operator’s Certification with the Civil Aviation Authority (CASA), ISO9001 international quality accreditation, Registered Training Organisation, registered aircraft maintenance organisation, and CRICOS accreditation for training international students.


The School has purchased in partnership in 2014 by:

David Blake: a highly experienced airline pilot with over 13,000 hours flight experience on most passenger long-haul aircraft including Boeing and Airbus. Also Chief Executive of four airlines in both Australia and Europe over a 30+ year career.

David Johnston: 26 years of experience in business and government in a wide variety of commercial roles, is a qualified accountant, university qualified in finance and commercial law, master’s level education in advanced marketing and advanced finance. Finalised studies at the Asian Institute of Management in Makati, Philippines. Deep experience and interest in the Asian region. The unique skillset mix brought to the School by the two Directors place the School in an enviable position to enable expansion.

Modern technology

The fleet consists of an carefully chosen mix of aircraft designed to cater for the diverse training needs and interest of its students. Aircraft include the Diamond DA20, Cessna 172, Cessna 182, Cessna 206, Cirrus SR20, Beechcraft BE55 Baron and a Piper PA31 Chieftain. Our fleet as a mix of traditional analogue and state of the art glass cockpit aircraft.  In addition, Hartwig Air has purchased and installed a Redbird full-motion flight simulator for student instrument training, and flight maneuver practicing. Such a simulator is the only operational sim of its type in South Australia.

Focus on the “bigger picture”
The Directors understand that the culture of commercial piloting aircraft is a vital element to a successful career. This includes a disciplined schedule, wearing a uniform, being fluent in radio communications, and able to instill a sense of confidence with passengers. The well being of the students are also seen as a vital component of the School. This extends to assistance with day-to-day challenges, social factors, understanding the potential impact of culture shock, mental health care, accommodation, and other outside factors that may impact the student as a person studying in a new environment. The School employs a full time, highly experienced Occupational Therapist (Mental Health) as Student Liaison Officer to ensure students are monitored and assisted whenever the need arises.


Our Team

Our School prides itself on the quality of our people. We have a diverse range of instructors and support staff that are dedicated to ensuring the best outcomes for our aviation students.

Support for students extends beyond just learning to fly – we also provide student support services that extend into any areas that the student has issues in, including assistance with accommodation, counselling services, and referrals to legal and administrative services to ensure students thrive in our learning environment.

Our Team Leaders

Our Instructors

Our Staff


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If you are interested in learning to fly for career or recreational purposes, get in contact with us now!

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